Published: Saturday, June 16, 2012, 7:07 AM Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012, 8:46 AM
Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer By Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer
“Bump!” my husband screamed as our raft slammed into a rock. Never mind that the rock wasn’t real. The river wasn’t real, either.
This was, however, real white-water rafting. Very real.
“Paddle left,” guide Casey Beall yelled from the back of our raft. “Hard left.”
The four of us paddled left — though not hard enough, apparently. Our raft slammed into the concrete rock in the middle of the man-made river, then bounced off.
Undeterred, we continued our way around the one-third-mile loop, a circular channel filled with well-placed obstacles and swirling, frothy water. Then we paddled over to the conveyor belt, rode it up to the top of the hill, slid back into the water — and did it all over again….
About four hours from Cleveland, in the mountains of western Maryland, is a white-water rafting course that draws Olympic athletes in training — as well as families like mine, with young and inexperienced rafters who feel safer trying the sport in a more controlled environment.
The course, owned by the nonprofit Adventure Sports Center International, is one of just a handful in the United States, but the number is growing, says Mike Logsdon, acting executive director of the facility. It opened in 2007.
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